T (7.5 months old currently) had a speech therapy session today. Most of our sessions consist of playing with different toys and encouraging him to vocalize to continue playing.
We started by playing with Sophie The Giraffe, a really popular squeaky teething toy. T LOVES Sophie – the therapist began by hiding Sophie under the table and making her squeak, and waiting for T to localize the squeaking sound by trying to find Sophie. He’s gotten good at localizing sounds in the last few months, and started trying to find her right away. The therapist moved Sophie towards him, tickling him, then quickly moving Sophie away – encouraging him to vocalize, and rewarding him by moving Sophie closer when he did so. Eventually, Sophie just ended up in his mouth!
We later moved on to playing peekaboo. T has recently gotten REALLY into peekaboo! The therapist hid herself under a blanket, and T got excited, knowing she was under there. From under the blanket, she asked him where she was, and then after hearing him vocalize, she pulled off the blanket – and he was so excited to see her!
Up until now, we have been encouraging T to vocalize by pausing before performing an action that he wants – for example, giving him Sophie or pulling off the blanket during peekaboo, and then only performing the action after hearing him make a sound. When we first started speech therapy 3 months ago, T was inconsistent about vocalizing, but he’s come so far since then! Now, the speech therapist said we should be pushing him to make more “specific” sounds. For example, going forward, we will start pushing him to make “mmmm” sounds when we ask if he wants “MOOOOORE Sophie?” And, instead of rewarding him by performing a desired action after hearing any vocalization from him, we’ll wait until he makes a more specific, desired sound that we’re encouraging him to produce.
T has been babbling “da da da da” for a few weeks now, so as his mom, I’m excited for him to get the hang of “mmmm,” so he can say “Mama!” 🙂